Three people were fighting for their lives on Sunday after being rescued from a fatal blaze at a karaoke bar under renovation in eastern China.
Ten people were killed and ten others injured on Saturday after a fire broke out at a high-rise housing a KTV bar, hotel, offices and apartments in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province.
Three victims remain in critical condition, the city authorities said on Sunday, adding that investigations showed the fire started at the KTV bar when construction workers cut through “decoration materials”.
Police have detained 24 people in connection with the accident, including decorators and karaoke bar employees.
Read also: China hotel fire kills at least 10
A subcontractor responsible for the renovation and eight shareholders in the KTV business are still at large, according to the authorities.
Flames swept through an area of about 1,500 square meters inside the 24-story building in the city’s Honggutan new district. The KTV bar takes up the first two floors.
Three victims died at the hospital, while firefighters recovered seven bodies from the debris of the blaze. Among the dead were three hotel guests and seven construction workers.
Luo Shiyao, who was working on the second floor of the KTV bar at the time of the fire, told China News Agency: “All of a sudden, I found smoke was coming from the first floor. It was choking. I heard someone shouting ‘fire’.”
He said he managed to run out into the street with five colleagues, while two others jumped from a second-floor window. “They were injured in the fall and had to be sent to the hospital. Their faces were black with smoke,” Luo said.
Ni Kangtai, a guest in the hotel from Wuhan, Hubei province, was asleep on the 21st floor when he was woken up by the smoke.
“I realised I was in danger when I opened the door. I went back into my room and filled the gap between the door and its frame with wet towels and waited to be rescued,” he told the news agency.
The city authorities said 20 fire trucks and more than 160 firefighters were sent to put out the fire, while more than 260 people had to be evacuated.
On Saturday afternoon, officials in Nanchang called for citywide checks to identify and solve potential safety hazards.